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Old Oct 23, 2005, 9:33 PM   #1
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I have a Nikon CoolPix 880 that I have been very satisfied with, except for a few things that I believe a new dSLR will correct.

One of the most significant problems I've had with the CP880 is shutter lag, but not your typical, everyday shutter lag.

You see, the photographs I care the most about are of my wife on horseback while she competes. These photographs are the result of constant panning (as she rides around) and zooming (to frame her and her horse as they move closer and then further away) of a high contrast subject across a variety of quickly changing backgrounds. This constant panning and zooming causes the autoexposure and autofocus systems to work themselves into a tizzy, often to the point where shutter lag is as much as 10-15 seconds, sometimes to the point that the camera doesn't actually take the picture, and a few times the camera has actually shut itself off.

I'm considering a dSLR that, either via a special lens (i.e. Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom, Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM), or built into the camera body (i.e. Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D), will allow the AE/AF systems to work faster. I know that the various technologies involved are only billed as allowing you to take photos at slower shutter speeds while panning, but I'm hoping that these might also help with the problem I'm having.

Does anyone out there have any experience with what I'm talking about, or have any thoughts on the subject?

BTW, I've posted this message in the Canon Lenses, Nikon Lenses, Konica Minolta Digital SLR, and the New Technology forums and will be monitoring them all.
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Old Oct 23, 2005, 9:51 PM   #2
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I've never shot horseback riding, but I do shoot weddings, and many of the reception/candid-style shots do envolve moving subjects and erratic subject movement. I shoot with a Canon 20D and Rebel XT, and have a few IS lenses. What matters more in these situations is the speed and focusing mechanism of the lens. For example, my Canon lenses have USM, meaning they focus very, very quickly. Shutter lag is imperceptible, and I can shoot at 4.5 frames per second with my 20D. And, in AI Servo focusing mode, the camera's autofocusing system continually adjusts focus as my subjects move nearer or farther away, even if I have my finger on the trigger. It is a pretty cool experience, shooting action with a 20D and a fast USM lens, in AI servo mode. It is something like firing a photographic machine gun, one that hits the target almost every time.

I originally moved from a Konica Minolta A200 (very similar to your Nikon 8800), to a Rebel XT, because I was photographing surfers, and the shutter lag and shot-to-shot times of the Minolta caused me to miss so many action shots. Now if I miss an action shot, I guarantee it isn't the fault of the camera.

I'm not sure VR is related to your intense shutter lag, but you seem to understand that... Get a DSLR and a couple fast lenses. You won't regret it.


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Old Oct 23, 2005, 9:53 PM   #3
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Any slr should fix these problems as they take pics near instantly you press the button, regardless of whether the shot is in focus or not.
It sounds like you will get better results if you use a lens with a fast autofocus mechanism such as Canon's USM or Sigma's HSM which will help the camera keep focus on a moving subject.
Image Stabilization (or anti-shake) will not make any difference as you will need a fast shutter speed to stop the movement of your subject and this will make the exposure time too short for any significant camera shaking. Note that this will be less true if you are a long way away and using a powerful telephoto (ie.300-400mm+) when anti-shake will be useful even at fast shutter speeds.
Generally you need faster lenses for action photography as you will often want shorter exposure times.
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